I was born on a  wooden dhow off Lamu Island 48 years ago and spent my
childhood in Lamu and Malindi. I schooled in Mombasa and studied agriculture
and rural development (and in particular technology and project management)
at Egerton and later Haryana University. For the last 20 years I worked on
World Food Program and other international aid programs. Most recently, I
was National Emergency and Rehabilitation Coordinator for Catholic Relief
Services.

My wife and I will soon celebrate 20 years together as well with our four
beautiful daughters. My love for my family brought me back to Malindi, where
we live a few metres from the beach where my father was born.

During my childhood, sea turtles, prawns, lobsters, sea horses, dolphins and
manatees were common near the beach. There are no dolphins, manatees or
seahorses anymore. Lobsters and prawns are over-exploited and sea turtles
are endangered.

When the fishermen elders approached me for help in lobbying against
environmental degradation, I gladly accepted to join them in their fight. Ken
and I became close friends and were given the mandate to create and lead
an association. Our Malindi Marine Association (MaMa) enjoys strong backing
of the local fishermen and is gradually gaining recognition among relevant
stakeholders and government departments. Much has been achieved in a
short period and much more remains to be done.

Athman Seif

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